SSL start-up closing its doors

Aspelle Ltd., one of the Secure Sockets Layer remote access start-ups in a crowded field, will close its doors next week after failing to get a second round of funding.

The company had hoped to sell its Aspelle Everywhere products to large enterprises that would be attracted to them because of their integration with Microsoft Corp. platforms, but the company ran out of money before its gear could take hold, according to a source within the company.

Aspelle's view of SSL remote access was that customers would prefer buying it from a vendor they already did business with. So the company based its software on Microsoft platforms and presented it as an add-on to Microsoft servers. That way customers could add SSL remote access functionality without disturbing their existing network, the company said earlier this year. Additionally, the remote access might be integrated into an existing management system.

The technology allows remote users at any Internet connected machine to connect with corporate resources over the Internet, securing the access with SSL.

Aspelle announced itself in the U.S. about a year ago, with its two-server architecture that was developed by London investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein for its own use.

The first server proxies between remote users and the protected corporate network. The second server authenticates remote users and refers to an Active Directory database to authorize requests. The gear is based on Windows 2000 and Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration server.

Aspelle competes against a host of other start-ups and established companies such as Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., Nokia Corp. and Nortel Networks Corp.

An official announcement of the shut-down is expected later this week.

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